Note: *gasp* An unpublished post! This post was written in March, days before my Grandma passed away. If she saw this dress, she would say, “Cover up your shoulders, you’ll catch a cold”.
At last, a loose-fitting sundress that actually fits me. I wonder why most RTW maxi dresses have an empire waist, they look more suitable as maternity dresses. Now that weather finally warmed up, I can finally wear my Sewaholic Saltspring.
The pattern was released in Summer 2013 and there was a Sew-Along to go with it. I’m more keen on sewing the pattern when there is a sew-along. The visual instructions are more engaging than the paper ones plus there are lots of invaluable tips and tricks to learn from
Quick recap! I used the sheer navy/orange/beige circle block polyester purchased from Fabricland’s Buy 1 Get 1, 2, 3 Free haul. The fabric is sheer and lining is a must to keep things covered (plus it reveals all the details on the fabric). Wrinkling was minimal but I forgot to check how it frays until the fray monster appeared as I was sewing. Make note, check if it frays.
In addition to the thread and zipper, this pattern called for a yard of 1/4″ Elastic. Sewaholic’s Saltspring is lined on the upper body to keep the garment close and the shell creates the blousy effect. Most RTW sundresses are usually stretchy enough to be pulled over without the need of a zipper. The idea didn’t really hit me until I was installing the zipper; then there was an “oooh, aaah” moment.
Construction and Alternations
I am a Sewaholic size 8/10/4. This dress has an elastic cinch around the waist. Instead of grading, i cut a straight 8 and used a size 10 elastic.
French seams are a lifesaver in fighting off the fray monster. Love how it encloses the seams nicely inside a ‘pocket’. The inseam pockets were also french seamed. Can’t stress how much it kept the stray frays intact. For the fray around the zipper, that will be glued at a later date.
Sewn on 1/4″ seam with a shorter stitch length, the straps was crazy fraying as I turned them inside out. Some parts were too frayed for use so they were shortened as I had them sewn on the bodice. Luckily, Next time I would either use a sturdier fabric or ribbons instead.
The minor fitting issue I had was in the underarm area. The area looked tight with some visible stretching. It may be a fabric problem but I think it may be a bra issue. The problem was resolved with a strapless bra. Hmmm, I should look into how various undergarments effects clothing.
The pattern calls for a lining in the bodice but not on the skirt. If the fabric was opaque, a skirt lining could be skipped. Since my fabric was too sheer, a lining was mandatory. The skirt lining is same as the original skirt pieces but shortened by 2″. Sewn exactly like the skirt (but without the pockets), I attached it to the seam underneath the elastic casing.
Recall some of the RTW sundresses of this style. Most are made with one layer of fabric with an elastic waist in the middle. Once you put it on, you have to adjust the placement of the elastic to create the blousing. The bodice is made from 2 layers, the lining and the outer. The pieces look similar but the outer is longer by ~3″. The extra length creates the blousing.
After leaving it to hang for 24 hours (noted in the instructions to let the fabric rest), it was hemming time. There were lots of discussions with my parents on how I should hem the dress. The machine option is fast but there might be more fraying as the bits catches onto who knows what. The manual option is more tedious but I can catch everything into the hem. Double-fold the hem and manual I went for both the outer skirt and the lining. Each layer took approximately 2 hours (4 hours in total) but the result was worth every stitch.
Can’t wait to make another one in a more psychedelic print (Mom saw a print on sale). There are several things to consider for next time.
- Try other strap variations
- Avoid using a fray monster fabric